Tom Peters, a pioneer on the topic of personal branding, once said, “Big brands know the importance of brands. Today, in the age of the individual, you have to be your own brand.”
In today’s digital age, whether you want it or not, you are your own brand. Your prospective employers will be searching for you online and finding everything they can about you before establishing that first contact.
So why not make the best possible first impression?
Social media is becoming a double-edged sword for job seekers
As the lines between personal life and professional brand get blurrier, social media is becoming a double-edged sword for job seekers. While 73 per cent of recruiters have hired a candidate through social media (the “good” news), 55 per cent have reconsidered a candidate based on their social profiles (66 per cent of the reconsiderations were negative!).
So here’s what you can do to make sure that your online brand will work in your favour throughout your job search and beyond:
1) Google yourself now (incognito)
Also referred to as a “vanity search,” this means Googling yourself without Google using your location, identity or past browsing history to make search results more relevant. Most browsers will provide this option. In Google Chrome, click the “Chrome menu” and select “New Incognito Window.” Now, take a close look at search results. Are there any old photos you don’t want the whole world to see? What comes up first? Ideally, you want your professional social profiles (e.g. LinkedIn) or website/blog to come up first. If someone else has the same name as you, try Googling yourself along with where you live (e.g. “John Smith Vancouver”) to make sure you are on top of search results. Here's what my vanity search looks like: